No other country comes to mind more than Ghana when one speaks of cocoa. And Ghana cannot be thought of without reference to its cocoa sector, which offers livelihoods for over 700,000 farmers in the southern tropical belt of the country. It continues to be one of Ghana’s main exports and has been central to its debates on development, reforms and poverty alleviation strategies since independence in 1957. Having emerged as a leading producer in the world, Ghana experienced a major decline in production in the 1960s-70s, with a near collapse of the sector in the early 1980s. Production steadily recovered in the mid 1980s after the introduction of economy wide reforms. The 1990s marked the beginning of a revival with production nearly doubling between 2001 and 2003. This case study examines the evolution of the cocoa sector in Ghana primarily to understand the factors that have contributed to the success and to look for any lessons for fostering agricultural transformation. The paper is organized into four sections: observable achievements in the sector, key drivers of success, sustainability and challenges for the future of cocoa in Ghana, and the lessons to be learned from Ghana’s experience.
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